Thanks for Making the Annual Parent Fair a Success

The annual Parent Fair was held August 16, 2018 from 1:30-6:00 pm and served as way to inform and to provide parents of enrolled students with all of the “start-up” details for the upcoming school year. It also provided an opportunity for parents and the community to explore the full range of Learning Center offerings.

Making Math Approachable



Sixth through eighth grade math teacher, Jess Stephens goes out of her way to make math approachable to her students at The Learning Center Charter School.  Inspired by the book, Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire by Rafe Esquith, Stephens comes to class everyday prepared to replace her students’ fear of math with trust, positivity and fun.

Each day of the week is a specific theme for these middle school math students at the charter school. In additional to Mindset Mondays, Workout Wednesdays, and Throwback Thursdays, Stephens wears a tutu on Tuesdays.

“I constantly tell my students that they can be anything they want to be and on Tuesdays I want to be a tutu wearing princess,” says Stephens. “My ever changing silly tutu gets kids excited for Tuesday. The silliness increases engagement during class and, in my opinion, makes me more approachable.”

To learn more about math for all ages at The Learning Center Charter School, visit or call (828)835-7240.

2016-2017 TLC Staff

2016-17 Group Staff Picture

The first day of the 2016-2017 school year is in the books and among the new backpacks, sneakers and t-shirts was lots of talk about the summer and what everyone did with their time.  It’s only fair that teachers and staff share what they did during summer vacation as well.

  • Hiked to the summit of Mount Avery in Colorado
  • Visited Tybee Island, Georgia
  • Tended beehives
  • Went to the beach
  • Spent time with grandchildren
  • Toured the western US
  • Grew a huge vegetable garden
  • Made blackberry jelly
  • Slept in every single day
  • Judged the Asheville Wine & Food Festival

Welcome back students, staff and teachers!

Staff Development – Reused Materials STEM Lesson

march 2015 012As part of ongoing staff development, teachers spent time learning about trash and the serious consequences it poses to our environment as well as ways to reduce trash production.  They also spent time reusing materials and turning trash into fashion.

march 2015 036

The Hiding Place – Showing at Valleytown Cultural Arts Center


This story is centered on Corrie ten Boom during WWII, who hid Jews in her home with her family in Holland.  She was eventually arrested and sent to prison and concentration camps but she learned, through faith and forgiveness, to love and serve all people, including the Nazis who persecuted her and so many. Our very own Ms. Lisa has the honor of playing Corrie.  The show opens at the Valleytown Cultural Arts Center in Andrews on March 20-22 and continues March 27-29.  Tickets for adults are $10 and students $7.

Parent Fair Showcases School, Open to Public

Parents of Learning Center! Charter School students and the invited public got an in-depth look at the upcoming school year when they attended the school’s first “Parent Fair” on August 7th.

parentfair2“Our Parent Fair accomplished three objectives this year,” said school director, Mary Jo Dyre. “First, it informed parents of enrolled students what to expect for the school year. Second, we invited perspective parents and community members who might be curious about what our school has to offer and third, we offered a Health Fair for our parents and the general population.”

parentfair5By having the event open to the public, interested parents were invited to learn more about the school’s substantial academic and arts curriculum as well as their unique electives and extra-curricular offerings.

parentfair4In addition to the Health Fair, other highlights included “art-making” activities with art teacher Carrie Dyre, and a new physical education activity with bamboo poles demonstrated by P.E. teacher Shelley Crawford and volunteer students.

parentfair3The Learning Center! had an early start date this year of Monday, August 11, while Cherokee County schools start August 25.

TLC! Welcomes New Drama Director

Lisa Maliska

For the third year in a row, The Learning Center! Charter school’s drama department will step into the stage lights for the annual spring musical. This year, the school welcomes a new drama director, Lisa Maliska, who will guide the student drama body known as the “GrowZone Players.”

Maliska, along with music education program director Judy Coleman is vigorously working to prepare her young GrowZone Players for the upcoming Spring Musical, “The Big Bad Musical.”  This comedic story focuses on the plight of the Big Bad Wolf, who is on trial and accused of “three counts of huffing and puffing with intent to destroy, two counts of attempted murder by ingestion, one count of grandmother impersonation, four counts of attempted sheep abduction and seventeen counts of lurking.” The musical opens to the public on May 16 and 17 at 7:00pm in the The Learning Center! Dining Commons.

Lisa Maliska, a teacher for eleven years, is completing her first full year teaching as a North Carolina certified teacher. Seven of those years were spent teaching English as a Second Language at a private school in the Sichuan Province of China. It was in China that she discovered her gift and love of teaching and it became quite clear to her that teaching is much like acting or performing in front of an audience.  According to Maliska, “If you are fearless and bring to the stage good material that is well prepared, you will hook your audience and they will gladly take the ride with you as you “tell the story” of whatever subject or topic you are sharing. The great thing about teaching, though,” she continues, “is the audience (or students) get to add to the story, experiment with it, analyze it, create new ideas, and at times, decide its end result.”

This perspective is valuable to Maliska not only as the new Growzone Players Drama Director, but also as she applies it to teaching 5th grade science and reading and 6thgrade math.  Maliska, who is an actor herself, can be seen on stage at the Licklog Players Community Theater in Hayesville. Her current role is  “Maggie” in “Jake’s Women,” opening April 25-27 and May 2-4.

“We are very fortunate to have Lisa share her talents with our students,” said school director Mary Jo Dyre. According to Dyre, the goal for creating a drama program is to provide middle school students with educational opportunities that develop basic skills for, and an appreciation of the performing arts. “We are building a “Community of Learners” support system to develop a sustainable performing arts program for area youth,” said Dyre.

Proceeds from “The Big Bad Musical” will benefit The Jackie Ward Foundation for Academics and Arts to help fund continuing art programs. Tickets are available now at The Learning Center! and the performance will be held two nights:

Friday, May 16 and Saturday, May 17 at 7:00pm in the TLC Dining Commons.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for students under 18. Call the school at 828.835.7240 or Our blog: or FaceBook: TLCGrowZonePage.